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Posted on 07/06/2012 8:21:02 AM PDT by MNDude
I am curious, how were race relations before LBJ's great society? Would you have walked, relatively safe, down the streets of Harlem back in 1960?
I don’t know about Harlem, but pre 1967 you felt very safe in Detroit. Believe it or not.
Actually, if you watch “documentary style” movies of the black experience before the Great Society, you will notice a relatively intact black family and much more of a “can do” attitude than today.
But it’s not really rocket science. Also, the stats are all out there. There was simply not the same hatred against whites.
That said, there were still plenty of whites that hated blacks. The KKK was still fairly strong, though I speak from my studies as opposed to personal experience. I never lived in an area where the KKK was all that big, or even apparent.
My Dad (RIP) went to an integrated high school in Cleveland, graduated in 1932. He always said race was not an issue.
Everybody was poor during the Depression.
We can go just 30 years ago to find better race relations. In 1983 I used to party with my Mexican roommate at Federal and 38th. He was a Mexican serving in our military to earn his citizenship. We used to go there on weekends and it was a great party place. Everyone was friendly, no gangs, violence was maybe a fistfight, and people partied all over the place. It was obviously safe for whites and I never felt threatened. Today, even the cops think twice before going there at night. I had to go there a few years ago in broad daylight on a Saturday and it wasnt fun. It is Mexican gang controlled and the majority of violence is from there.
That was a different world. I was a white Public Health Nurse in a totally black district of Baltimore city in 1969 and ‘70. My mentor and supervisor and co-workers were mostly black, and were very well qualified nurses. I was totally safe, and so was my beautiful LeMans convertible, as I made my home visits.
My clients were poor and lower middle class - men had jobs then. Johnson’s money to the cities broke up too many intact families and destroyed incentives to work and study. I could go on, but you just asked about safety. Heroin was the street drug, and addicts would rob their mother if they were desperate, but there was not the same racial animosity as has continued for too many “victims” today.
Wasn't that a HUGE success?
Raised the black illegitimacy rate from 15 to 75%.
now we wonder why society has problems
As a mid-sixties white teenager, things were very relaxed in my urban/suburban area. I can remember the first time I heard ‘nigger’ used about a black person. Man, it hit me like a ton of bricks.
Even when things began to go south in the late 60s, there were two people whose safety was guaranteed: the District Health Nurse and the weekly life insurance collection man.
Now the young thugs have no respect for anyone (and they're not buying life insurance for their families), so nobody is safe.
Read the opening chapter in Thomas Sowell’s book Black Rednecks and White Liberals. He lays it all out very clearly. The black community and race relations all went to hell at the hands of the liberals and their programs that started in the 60s.
The whole “black culture” grew out of the democrats need for division. Prior to that, blacks and whites lived very much the same. Sure there has always been racism but blacks and whites could spot it and avoid going where they weren’t welcome.
Forced desegregation has been really bad for America. That’s not to say that I think segregation is good only that forcing contact creates tension.
The Great Society was a textbook example of liberals ineptitude about understanding human nature. It is summed up in this by Bill Whittle:
Who thought up the idea of housing the poor, by the thousands, in a tightly condensed area? And while we’re at it, lets do everything we can to ensure the fathers are absent and women will be rewarded for bearing more bastards. Is anyone really that stupid? It had to be intentional.
“you will notice a relatively intact black family and much more of a can do attitude than today.”
Actually, blacks were already under the gun for their out of wedlock child bearing. If I recall correctly the 1950’s report stated that number was already 33% by then.
“There was simply not the same hatred against whites.”
There was. They simply didn’t have the avenues to express it. Tapping that hatred was easy to during the building of the Great Society and it continues today. The white KKK is small potatoes compared to the Black KKK of today.
You could go into black areas in the day time; i.e. to the museum. Blacks had their own schools. Restrictive covenants were allowed which helped make neighborhoods safe.
In short, whites governed and it was generally peaceful. We never really thought much about blacks. My mother was horrified when I saw my first black.(I was about five.) I looked at the lady and said "Mommy that lady is dirty" Mom remembered that all her life. She had to apologize to the lady.
I’m pretty-sure Chicago wasn’t seeing a daily murder and several daily woundings.
It was a lot safer even in small southern towns. However, racism was common. And that was bad.
I recently watched The Pruitt-Igoe Myth on Netflix. I believe there is much to take away from watching it.
Like if you were black and traveling anywhere in the South for any reason and you wanted lunch or a glass of water and you had to go look for the ons Negro establishment???
Lady Bird said the Great Society was a failure.
In about 1963, I witnessed the battle of the bicycle rack on Fayetteville street in down town Raleigh.
It was rumored that there were to be incidents down town at the movie theater. We ceased our evening studies grind and went to town.
In front of the theater there was a bicycle rack with ABOUT 5 0R 6 Raleigh good old boys sitting on it. They made a strategic error. They left a space for one more on the end. A black boy, likely a student, seated himself in the space. The white boy moved over and shoved the last white boy off the end. The black boy moved over into the new space, leaving a space on the end. A second black boy moved into the vacant space.
The process was completed until the blacks captured the entire bicycle rack.
Sometime later there was a major protest incident and many arrests. The entire jail was occupied. We would go to town almost every evening to mail letters to far off girlfriends. On this night we heard singing from the upper floors of the courthouse/jail. One song was “We shall OverCome”
The pigeons and starlings that roosted on the jail window ledge were flying all around in confusion, unwilling to fly into the darkness.
It was all strange and different.
The Students at NC State were not allowed their annual March On the Capitol, they were restrained within the blocks through the campus.
The black students however were allowed off their campus and marched on the governors mansion trampling thousands of Hyacinths in bloom.
The memories of those incidents nearly 50 years are are clear
When the black community holds up someone like Thomas Sowell as someone to emulate rather than Jesse Jackson or his ilk, then I will feel hopeful for them.
But I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
You must have grown up in a different part of So Cal than I did.
I think the answer is pretty categorically, “No, you would NOT be safe walking down Lenox Avenue at night in 1967.” Race relations were not great, but they were improving. Remember in 1967 only 25% of black children were born out of wedlock. Today the number is well over 60%. (Notice the NBA never plays on Fathers Day?)
Today, there is no more Jim Crow, but we’ve had five decades of hectoring and whingeing and excuse making. The country has gotten worse in the past five decades, trust me. Some aspects of race relations are better. For instance, just about no one favors de jure segregation. I think racial hypocracy is off the charts these days. That a creature like Al Sharpton would be taken seriously is a disgrace.
MLK was a great man. He was not perfect, he had human faults, but he was had a generous and optimistic spirit. He was like Ghandi, in that he relied on the goodness of America, and Americans, especially white Americans.
I don’t like affirmative action, but it is a road bump compared to Jim Crow and systemic discrimination that preceded it.
I think LBJ was a cynic and vile individual and would have promoted Jim Crow if he thought it could get him more votes.
Lady Bird had all the brains, culture, and beauty in that family.
I agree with what you are saying, generally speaking. However, those things, including the hate, are worse today then back then.
A good article on The Pruitt-Igoe Myth .
In the 50’s one of my white, celtic heritage family’s favorite TV shows was Amos n Andy.
Today the public isn’t allowed to see the reruns on TV. It is frowned upon to even view clips privately.
Race relations took a dramatic tuurn for the worst in the late 50’s when “liberals” stepped in to “correct” things.
Race relations were safe back then but not really good.
Blacks were far more segregated and, well, oppressed in a lot of ways.
They were far more family oriented and peaceful.
It’s horrible now in inner cities and places like Chicago, but I think we’re still in the throes of growing pains as the blacks became equal and the resentment of the past grew.
Today’s society expects everything to happen over night. It will take a couple more generations, I think.
But Obama has made it much worse. We must get rid of him.
I'm a native New Yorker, white, born in '48 and, no, it was not relatively safe back then. I remember reading about white people, usually tourists, getting lost on the subway, straying into Harlem and getting raped, robbed, severely beaten, killed. It happened all the time but it wasn't as bad as it's been in more recent years. Democrats have made it much worse with their race-card politics. But the racial hatreds have always been there.
As I recall intermarriage was not allowed in California by law until about 1948.
Restrictive covenants were not outlawed until about the late 1950's to early 1960's.
The above are historical facts take it or leave it.
The original question was about race relations and how safe the cities were before LBJ. That really was the dividing time line. 1967-1968 saw urban riots all over the US. After that, whites decided the cities were not safe and voted with their feet.
When you think about it, this is a sea change of historic proportions in a very, very short time. I could name several cities in Michigan alone (Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, Saginaw, Lansing, Muskegon) that have lost population and jobs and and have become, basically, rat holes since LBJ.
I went to high school in the late ‘60s in Chicago. In that place and time, at least, blacks despised whites.
Excellent point. The result of the liberal Great Society is that it destroyed the black family. Liberals have done more harm to blacks than the KKK.
While signing the bill, didn’t Johnson make some kind of comment to the effect that “this will keep the n*gg*rs on the Democratic plantation forever”. Or am I just imagining he said that, because its happening.
I did social work in the Baltimore slums 1963-1965. It was safe [and extremely friendly people] as you can be except at night - you should go in a group.
The public schools I visited appeared to be still segregated then and the quality of the students` education was very high with high morale as they all wore school uniforms dress code.
But NY City was totally different- If I rode the subway I always had my 250 pound cousin accompany me. We both carried knives.
Oakland in 1965 was safer than today. You could walk unscathed from Berkeley all the way to Jack London Square at midnight and nobody bothered you -
But East Oakland to 98th Ave. was very dangerous coz of drug activity.
I never stated So Cal was perfect, however in Orange County, as flawed as it was, the “facts” you posted before were not the case. A small number of blacks lived in Fullerton and Santa Ana back into the 1930s. It was considered “common knowledge” that blacks had to leave Brea and Orange by sundown, but no sign so stating was ever posted nor any law so passed.
By the late 50s or early 560s Fullerton High elected a black student body president. It wasn’t nirvana, but it was better in the OC than the leftist snobs on the west side of LA want to admit.
By 1969 the Black Panthers had started to raise awareness of Black Pride in these neighborhoods. I will always remember the day that I was stopped at a traffic light, car window rolled down, and a black middle-school-age kid came right up to the car and yelled "honky, honky, honky", to my face. My reaction was to laugh! When I recall that incident I wonder what that kid thought of my response.
I grew up in a town called Magnolia, NJ and graduated High School in 1962. When I turned 16 between my sophmore and junior year I began working as a caddy at Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill, NJ which was 5 miles away. I either hitched a ride or had to walk along Evesham Ave to get back and forth since I couldn’t drive yet. Between the two points I had to pass through Lawnside, NJ. Let me tell you it was the mecca for all the Phila and NJ blacks to come for BBQ, drinking, dancing and party. Boy did it smell good with all the chicken and ribs. I walked through there and was never threatened in the least. Several times I was offered food or a soda. There were at least 2,000 people there at any time over the weekend and it was all good. It was very different back then.
LBJ changed all that. Lawnside has since shut down the picnic grounds and the bars, etc. It is pretty much poverty there now. Nothing is the same.
Coming from the "Whitest" State (Vermont) in the Union, I had little if any interaction with Blacks (what they were called back then) and did not have a racist bone in my body as was the case with most Vermonters.
My HS, albeit small (maybe 200 students) had one black student and the town I grew up (some 7,000) had one black family.
Thus when I got to basic at Lackland, I was shocked at the undercurrent of racism, though nothing overt or any real problems.
THEN, I got stationed (after tech school) to Tachikawa AFB, Japan and things got really "interesting."
Though there were some blacks who I worked and lived with in the same (Quonset Hut) barracks and though there was no obvious problems, when not working, we each went our separate ways.
"They" had their own gate they went out of with "their" bars, restaurants, laundry's and "ladies" they frequented and mostly hung around together; we "Caucasians" had our own as well and no one made a big deal about it and after a while, we simply took it for granted.
After returning from Nam in 67, all hell had broken loose.
I got stationed at Bergstrom AFB (Austin) Tx and from there to DC in 68 for 6 months to attend OSI (Office of Special Investigation) School.
We were "encouraged" to not venture "Downtown" and even the Washington Police patroled in pairs with many having a big dog in their cars.
Later on got stationed at McGuire AFB in N.J. and then (living close to Philadelphia and occasionally going there to visit) is when I first was exposed to Black on White racism and palapable dislike, at times, bodering on "hatred."
Think conditions mostly improved for a while, but seem to have gotten worse again as when vacationing in Florida this past Winter, I did make a consicous decision to avoid certain sections of Tampa as they were not considered "Safe." Don't know about the rest of the country, but from what I read, there appears to be a lot of attacks by African Americans on whites which are unprovoked and much more prevalent than the opposite.
The laws against interacial marriage was statewide as were the restrictive covenant laws.
Wasn't that a HUGE success?"
Grace Slick was one hell of a singer, but the band didn't do so well.
I don’t know about up north but in Atlanta, 1960s, I roamed all over the city at night as a teenager. This, however, was before Maynard Jackson was elected.
Today, I doubt I’d drive through Atlanta off an expressway, even with my truck-stashed 45 and beaucoup mags, unless I absolutely had to go somewhere there..
I posted this article by Dr. Manning two years ago - more relevant now than ever. Just to get an idea of how different it was, look at pictures of the people marching with Dr. Martin Luther King - they were elegant. He would not recognize ‘his’ people today.
I wandered into Harlem in my car while visiting NY in the early '70's. Luckily, there was almost nobody on the street, but I couldn't get out of there fast enough. Scariest place I've been.